Back in 2015, we traveled through Utah, visiting all five national parks in the state. One of our stops was Moab. From there we had the chance to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Canyonlands is a large park, specifically, 337,598 acres. It consists of 3 districts. The Island in the Sky district is closest to Moab and the most visited. This is the part we saw back in 2015. The Needles district occupies the southeastern part of the park and is close to Monticello. This is the portion we visited on this trip. The Maze district in the southwestern part of the park is very remote and is only accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles and for backcountry exploration.
The Needles was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. Its landforms of sculptured rock spires, arches, canyons, grabens and potholes compete for your attention. As we hiked around, we were continually mesmerized by the landscapes we were viewing as well as the details of formations nearby.
Just south of the entrance to the The Needles district, you can find Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument which features a rock panel carved with one of the largest known collections of petroglyphs. The first carvings here were made about 2,000 years ago. There are over 650 rock art designs including animals, human figures and symbols.
In Monticello, we parked at the Old West RV Park. The owner of the park gave a short quick draw shooting exhibition. This was a first for us.
Next stop: Bluff, UT